Bayside councillor James Long takes out intervention order against 68-year-old woman

A Bayside councillor has taken out an interim intervention order against a 68-year-old woman suffering from multiple sclerosis and emphysema, claiming she poses a threat to his personal safety and reputation.

Highett resident Sue Hardiman was shocked when two police officers delivered the court order on Monday night, which prevents all contact with Cr James Long or the publication of any material about him.

Cr Long, who received an award for bravery in 2000, has accused the elderly woman of involvement in the circulation of defamatory flyers to residents of the Bayside municipality.

“The respondent [Ms Hardiman] began a campaign to defame and destroy my reputation. The respondent has persistently made false accusations to myself and other councillors about me. The respondent regularly emails me wanting me to resign from my position,” Cr Long stated in the interim order.

Cr Long said he suffered from a post-traumatic stress disorder, after he received a national bravery award in 2000 after chasing a handbag thief and clinging to the bonnet of a getaway car.

But Ms Hardiman, who has battled multiple sclerosis for more than 40 years ago, denies any involvement in the circulation of defamatory flyers.

“I did not do that, I would never do that. I don’t believe in doing anything anonymously. You have to stand up and be counted and everything I’ve said about him, I’ve said to his face,” Ms Hardiman said.

She said the intervention order by Cr Long was an attempt to silence criticism of his performance at Bayside City Council.

In 2004, Cr Long launched a bid to become Melbourne lord mayor by riding a white horse to town hall carrying tea and honey and promising a “sweet and clean” fight. He was unsuccessful in his campaign.

According to his profile on the Bayside council website, Cr Long is a founding director of the Australian Bravery Foundation and the Australian Bravery Institute.

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